Wednesday, September 29, 2010

'Clay and Blogs' pots

Levi and I unloaded the wood kiln today and chose six pots to go to the "Clay and Blogs" show in Southern Pines (opening reception this Friday). There were some nice pots from potters I recognized and potters I didn't. Then there were pots from potters I have met online. I'm looking forward to meeting some of my fellow bloggers this Friday during the reception at Campbell House (6 to 8 p.m.).

I quickly took pictures of the pieces I was taking to the show, and here's a few of the better shots. They all came out of the kiln this morning. Now, it's back to firing some pots in the electric kiln to get ready for our kiln opening this Saturday.

Preserve jar with porcelain slip and sgrafitto
decoration of pine bough

Small vase (Levi's) with ash and flashing
from the kiln

Vase with porcelain slip and sgrafitto,
autumn tree

Vase with alberta slip glaze and
natural ash from kiln

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sneak Peak

Firing the wood kiln from 5:30 a.m. until 2:30 a.m. wore me out. Yesteday was a day of rest and today I'm finding it a challenge to get going still. I loaded some tree platters and other pots for a bisque firing and started the kiln, and we unbricked a bit of the door of the wood kiln.

Here's a couple of shots of what we can see so far.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hot pictures of Last Night's firing

Levi and I finished up firing around 2 a.m. We decided to quick-cool the kiln. When the pyrometer (placed toward the back of the kiln) read 1900-and-something, I decided that was enough. I didn't want to cool the front of the kiln too much, as that's where we allowed air to flow into the kiln from the firebox door. During a quick cool pots rapidly begin to lose heat and their characteristic glow. I don't have experience with quick cooling, so I didn't want to take a chance of cracking pots. I think Levi thought I was a wimp.

Cones 12 and 13 melted simultaneously in the front of the kiln as usual and they both were nearly flat as decided to stop stoking. We had a cone 9 down toward the back.

We plan to unload Wednesday.

Levi peaks into the kiln early on

After quick-cooling down to 1900 or so,
pots begin to lose their glow and show
a bit of sheen.

We pulled this soul pot out at cone 9
(around 2,300 degrees F), made from
StarWorks' cone 6 white clay.

This is the soul pot after it cooled.

This lidded jar has a huge crack.
It was right next to the firebox
and may have been hit by a piece of wood.

After cleaning up the photo of Levi's bowl
in Photoshop, I can't see the crack that
we thought we saw developing early
in the firing.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Beautiful Day for Sixth Firing

rake props up firebox door
during early stoking

We won't complain if it rains, but it would be nice if it would hold off until we reach temperature for our seventh firing in the Manabigama, my first wood-fired kiln that I built last Fall. Levi's stoking beneath the fire grates right now, attempting to reach 700 to 800 degrees F. before we begin to stoke on top of the grates.

"I'm using the Owen Rye method," he says, referring to his method of stoking two air intake holes alternately instead of at the same time.

It seems to be working as the kiln approaches 700 for the first time. It's 12:30 p.m. and Mary has just told us the leek and potato soup is ready.

Levi threw several plates and a large tall vase which we have in this kiln. He's also got a large shallow bowl right up front next to the fire box. We're envisioning some dramatic results with it. It's glazed with my apple ash glaze.

I better duck into the shelter because it's starting to rain....

Middle of kiln during loading

Levi places large shallow bowl
at front of kiln next to firebox

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Preparing for Turkey Roast and Kiln Opening

Emptying the firebox of ashes from last firing

Levi throws some last-minute bottles for the wood kiln

It's time once again for our annual turkey roast and kiln opening - October 2, 9-5. This year's kiln opening will feature food by a chef from Cary who is trading his time for some wedding gifts. Will we smoke or fry the turkey this time?

Levi and I hope to fire the wood kiln twice before next weekend. We've got some nice pots and we will be making more. We spent the past couple of weeks throwing vases, plates, mugs, soul pots and bowls among other items. I've been slack in communicating on the blog lately. A little slack in firing kilns as well. I think I'm still reeling from that foot-soaking bowl experience. I was going to write about our trip to Florida after Levi successfully delivered the last of the foot-soaking bowls, but I just didn't get around to it.

So we spent the day today preparing the wood kiln for firing, and Levi threw a couple of ware boards full of some lovely bottles. I think we need a good firing in the wood kiln to jazz us up a bit.

Here's a few pictures from the Florida trip:

Friday, we delivered
a wedding plate to my
friend Randall, Surfside, NC

Sunday, lunch with my
daughter Chelsea in
Mount Dora, FL.

Tuesday, a lick from my
mother's new dog, Evie -
Pensacola, FL

Thursday, old friend Brad
and wife Joy leave on
their 1960s plane

Back to Panama City, FL
on Friday

To pick up some fresh shrimp

And watch my little sister
be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel
in the U.S. Air Force

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's a Wrap!

Levi and Mary tape up a box as I retrieve another bowl, still hot from the kiln.

Monday and Tuesday whirled by as Mary, Levi and I worked nonstop on getting the last foot-soaking bowls wrapped in bubble wrap and plastic, and finding two Seagrove potters willing to fire two loads of the bowls so that we could get Levi on the road Tuesday and he could get to Brewster New York to deliver the last pots by 3 p.m. today.

Georgia and Byron Knight of Blue Moon Gallery and Sherry Caldwell-Hohl and Bill Hohl (pronounced Hall) of Caldwell-Hohl Pottery fired the last six bowls for me, as I had a kiln firing as well. But Bill and Sherry's kiln apparently had a thermocouple fail and the firing took 20 hours instead of 15, so we had to crash cool the kiln to get the pots out Tuesday. It wasn't through firing until 8 a.m. Tuesday.

I think it was around 6 p.m. when we opened up the L&L electric kiln at Caldwell-Hohl's. Temperature 420 degrees F.

"I'm going over to Blue Moon to get the other bowls," I said to Bill as the heat billowed into our faces from the opened kiln. "I can't be here when they crack."

When I returned to Caldwell-Hohl's, I boxed up the bowl on the top shelf and removed the shelves to reveal the bowl underneath.

"Let's wait a little while," Bill said. "Come in and have a beer."

Bill and Sherry have a lovely log home, and as I sat down at their bar, quenching my thirst with a Corona poured into a frosted mug, I noticed a beam of light slicing into the space above a huge ceiling beam.

"I could sit here for hours," I told Bill and Sherry.

"That's what everybody who sits here says," Sherry replied.

I finished my beer and hopped up to go place another hot bowl into a cardboard box, hoping it wouldn't burn a hole through the box.

Levi managed to get on the road at 7:50 p.m. Loaded with all of the last 83 foot-soaking bowls, he drove to Virginia and stayed at a hotel, and hopefully will reach the warehouse of Collins Brothers Moving Company before they close at 4 p.m. today.

When I get that phone call from him, telling me he succeeded, and if Bill and Sherry will have me, perhaps I'll go sit at their bar with another cold one - for hours this time.